Fornication Once Again

Not a term you hear much these days, fornication. For those of you without the benefit of a Catholic education, fornication is the sin of having sex with someone who isn’t your spouse, a puzzling concept in a day and age when few still believe in sex after marriage.

Michelle Mulherin’s (FG) use of the word in a Dáil debate was amusing, but rather distracted from the issue. This being that the courts have found – years ago – that there are circumstances where a woman has a right to an abortion, but the legislature has never overturned existing or created new law to decriminalise it in those circumstances. It’s such a touchy subject that even an ostensibly woman-friendly party like Labour are avoiding it. (This attempt to correct the situation was sponsored by the tiny Socialist party.)

The basic problem is that the issue is not open to reasoned debate – not when a significant proportion of people (probably a minority now, but still a blocking one) stick with the Pope‘s opinion that human life and its concomitant rights begin at the moment of conception. It’s an extremist position, but it effectively closes down the subject. If abortion is murder, how can you even discuss it?

Others do take different stances. That humanity begins at birth, or that there is some stage of development after which a foetus may be said to be human. The latter though is really passing the buck. There is no medical definition of humanity, the start of human life – conception, birth, some point in between – is a matter of how you define life and how you define humanity, a philosophical question with no definitive answer in science, or indeed in scripture.

This being the case, can we not accept that the only relevant opinion here is that of the woman?


When It’s Over

Human skin structure

Now that she’s gone, I have lost my reason. I don’t mean I’m mad. I’m angry and bitter, sure, but not unbalanced. I mean that when we were together, life made more sense. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t living my life for her. Heaven forfend. Nor “our future together”, or anything so cute. But I was part of something that was better than myself alone, something that transcended my limitations.

I hate to call it “the relationship”. It seemed far more concrete to me than such a vague term can convey, even if it existed only in our heads (only in mine?). What I’m talking about is an emotional reassurance. The knowledge that someone knew you very, very well – and yet somehow wanted to be with you anyway. The simple touch of human skin coming between you and the abyss. To cross the frontiers of that skin, escape the bonds of individuality, discover the relief of trust.

It wasn’t all security. No. It was challenge too. But that’s a good combination. When someone smart thinks you’re smart, expects the best of you, criticizes you cogently, it brings out your best. It didn’t change my life overnight, no. But over a year it informed every decision in a positive way. Why not do this? Why not set that goal? I felt both motivated and secure enough to look at the future again.

So now. When I think of doing something, the unexpected question comes. What for? Wasn’t there a reason once? The logic of my life escapes me for a moment. I don’t know why I’m doing anything. I survive, of course. And I know objectively that things will be better one day. But right now I feel betrayed, abandoned, imprisoned. Condemned to the oubliette of memory, the echo chamber of self. The walls close in.

Humour Technology

Jam Don’t Shake Like That

A gelatin capsule for medicine
It's People!

A couple of days ago, I shared with you some fun gelatin facts. None of them however even begins to compare with the one I stumbled across today.

How would you like to eat…

No I can’t even say it. This is ridiculous. Insane.

But I have to tell you. How would you like to eat… No. Yes, dammit. I must. How would you like to eat…

Human-flavoured Jell-O?

Or OK, human gelatin. Which is the animal-derived protein that Jell-O and other such desserts are based on. Just add boiling water. But human gelatin is of course human-flavoured, by definition.

But why – Why the f*&@!? – would you want to make gelatine from people?

Because it’s vegetarian, for one.

Well kinda. It’s actually made by yeast, which is vegetarian. But the yeast has been genetically engineered with human DNA to manufacture collagen, the gelatin protein. I cannot however see a lot of vegetarians accepting that this is anything but anathema.

All right, the idea behind making human collagen may really be that it has medical applications; it’s likely to be more compatible with the human body. Interesting though how I have really split feelings about that. If, say, you wanted collagen to inject into people, using human instead of animal seems more natural. Kinda.

But making that collagen into gelatin and using it for medical applications, such as soluble drug capsules, that you actually eat?

Cannibalism, plain and simple. Fetch torches and pitchforks, stet.

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